Tony Award-winning actor Joe Mantegna is a proud Illinoisan through and through. He was born in Chicago on Nov. 13, 1947. He graduated from Morton East High School in Cicero in 1965 and from the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago in 1969. The Goodman School has since been re-named as the Theatre School at De Paul University. Joe made his acting debut in a 1969 production of Hair.
Based on his many afternoons watching the Cubs at Wrigley Field, Joe created the concept for and was one of eight writers of the award-winning play Bleacher Bums which was first performed at Chicago's Organic Theater in 1977. Another contributor was Dennis Franz of Maywood who played Detective Andy Sipowicz on NYPD Blue. The play ran five years in L.A. The play was put on WTTW in Chicago in 1979 and an updated version won an Emmy Award for Joe when it was broadcast on the Showtime channel in 2002.
Joe won both a Tony Award in New York and a Joseph Jefferson Award (Jeff Award) in Chicago for his role as Richard Roma in David Mahmet's Pulitzer Prize-winng play Glengarry Glen Ross. Mahmet is a native of Flossmoor in south Cook County. Along with Elizabeth Taylor and Mark Hamill, Joe is one of only three actors to play both himself and a character (Fat Tony) on The Simpsons starring another Cook County native, Dan Castellanata. Joe's Broadway debut was in the Steven Schwartz musical version of Working by Chicago author Studs Terkel.
Joe married Arlene Vhrel on Dec. 3, 1975. The couple have two children. Arlene owns a restaurant in Burbank, California called "Taste Chicago."
According to Joe's official web site, he "starred in the theatrical premiere of A Life in the Theater, The Disappearance of the Jews at the Goodman Theater, and in the Broadway production of Speed the Plow with Ron Silver and Madonna. In addition, Joe directed a critically acclaimed stage production of Mamet's Lakeboat, starring Ed O’Neil and George Wendt, in a successful Los Angeles theatrical run."
Among Joe's most famous roles is his performance as Joey Zasa in The Godfather Part III (1990). For a list of Joe's many films and TV projects, click here to see his page on the Internet Movie Data Base.
To read more about Joe's life and his theatrical career, click here to see his official web site.